Monthly Archives: May 2014

What a Night for Men and Women at ZINO Woman

l-r: Renee Behnke of Sur La Table, Fran Bigelow of Fran's Chocolates, Caitlin Cameron of Otometrix, Inc., Colette Courtion of JeNu Bioscience and Bill McAleer of Voyager Capital
l-r: Renee Behnke of Sur La Table, Fran Bigelow of Fran’s Chocolates, Caitlin Cameron of Otometrix, Inc., Colette Courtion of JeNu Bioscience and Bill McAleer of Voyager Capital

ZINO Woman Intentional Investment Forum this past week at the Columbia Tower Club was a big success with 200 angel investors, entrepreneurs and business professionals attending including 24 Judges, 13 Elevator Pitchers, 8 Volunteers, 7 Business PItchers, 6 Panelists, 5 ZINO Team Members, 4 Winemakers, 2 Event Sponsors, 2 Dealflow Flight Facilitators, 1 ZINO Annual Angel Fund $100,000 check presented and 1 Traction Updater.  Surprisingly however, there was not a partridge in a pear tree.

The big “Triple Crown” winner of the evening was Lori Salow Marshall of BYNDL with a brilliant business that provides a mobile transaction services platform, enabling companies to extend their own software or machines to transact with any mobile device.  For example, it enables mobile payment and customer data collection at unmanned vending machines.  She received the Judges’ Award for best investment opportunity, the ZINO Zenith Award for best investment opportunity and was also one of the 3 potential fund finalists selected for further consideration for an investment from the ZINO Annual Angel Investment Fund-2014.  Runners up for both awards and also potential fund finalists were Justine Smith of Kids Go Co. and Mhairi Voelsgen of broVo Spirits.

Lori Salow Marshall of BYNDL
Lori Salow Marshall of BYNDL

The Judges’ Award for best presentation of the 13 Elevator Pitches went to Jamie-Rose Edwards of  Young Women Empowered with runners up Corey Fagan of Owl Outcomes and Deborah Semer of Joyboxx.

Zoe Mesnick-Greene of StartMark
Zoe Mesnick-Greene of StartMark

One of the very early-stage ZINOpreneur members that pitched was 21 year old UW student, Zoe Mesnick-Greene of StartMark. Passion and enthusiasm for her lip care product which also supports cleft palate surgery for children in developing countries, was so abundant that we didn’t have a chance to hear enough of the business side of the business in the limited time she had available to pitch.  She is definitely someone to watch.  I personally look forward to watching her continue to grow her business and become more polished at sharing her message more succinctly.

Congratulations to all the entrepreneurs who pitched at ZINO Woman!

PATH Breakfast

thumb-mch-safebirthSome of the statistics I heard this morning at the PATH Breakfast were startling.  Steve Davis, PATH President and CEO, matter-of-factly stated that PATH is the leading innovator in global health and that in 2013, over 219 million people globally have been impacted by PATH with new vaccines and drug treatments, breakthrough health tools, and powerful strategies to change the course of disease.  What has already been achieved is breathtaking and truly amazing as PATH has introduced vaccines, affordable drugs and diagnostics, especially targeted to the world’s most vulnerable women and children.  But PATH remains committed to collaboration and to the effective use of resources to fuel transformative change in global health.  Jean Enersen, of KING TV, chimed in to say that PATH really is Seattle’s “home-town hero”, and that few of us recognize the immense role it plays on the world stage.

There is a current initiative at PATH to focus on the first 1,000 days of childhood, which includes pre-birth pregnancy care for the moms.. As Steve talked about the immensity of the need but also the success that these programs are having, he quoted Nelson Mandela’s famous saying, “It always seems impossible until it’s done!”

Congratulations and continued success to PATH as it continues to change the world!

Celebrating PONCHO 1963-2013

Cathi Hatch and Kay Baxter
Cathi Hatch and Kay Baxter

Earlier this week, I was delighted to attend the 50 year anniversary of PONCHO.  Though as you may know, PONCHO ceased to exist as a separate 501C-3 organization this year, many of us played a role in its success in raising over $35 million for the Arts during the past 50 years. As the evening’s program proclaimed:

Thousands of Volunteer Hours
Hundreds of Life-Long Friendships
40 Gala Auctions, 21 Wine Auctions, 8 Art Auctions
Countless fund memories and the laugh lines to prove it

The party was a visual delight with giant oversize pink and pale gold balloons floating at the ceiling in the blue ballroom at The Ruins, gorgeous peony floral arrangements, The Event Chairs were PONCHO Pat Presidents Pat Fearey (1993 “Come Fly With Me”) and Llew Pritchard (1973 “Tivoli”) and Party Chair was Kay Baxter (2005 “Ooh La La”).  In addition to Pat, Llew and Kay, many other past presidents were in attendance at the party including Herman Sarkowsky (1968), Faye Sarkowsky (1985 “Out of the World”), C. David Hughbanks (1980 “Coloring Book”), Dorothy Fluke (1990 “Crystal Ball for the Arts”), Carl Behnke (1991, Viva el Arte”), Ron Elgin (1996 “Italian Carnival), Gary Gayton (1997 “35th Anniversary”), Chap Alvord (1999 “Celebrate the Century”), Craig Hopkins (2001 “Imagique”), John & Polly DeFeo (2004 “American Razzle Dazzle”), Michael Alhadeff (2006 “Derby Dreams”), Jeffrey Atkin (2007-2008), Janet True (2009), Evelyn Zabo (2010-2011), Stephen Kutz (2012-2013) and me, Cathi Hatch (1998 “Passion for the Arts”).

Llew Pritchard, Dorothy Fluke, Carl Behnke
Llew Pritchard, Dorothy Fluke, Carl Behnke

A number of the past Wine Auction chairs were also in attendance including Founder Carl Behnke, Robert Lucurell, Ron Elgin, Mel Sturman, Greg Lill, Stacy Lill, Renee Behnke, Doug True, Bob Parks, Steve Kutz and Courtney Womack.

PONCHO Past Wine Auction Chairs
PONCHO Past Wine Auction Chairs

The evening began with 10 wickedly difficult PONCHO trivia questions written by Pat and Llew.  You had to have lived through the early PONCHO years to be able to answer them.  Here is just a sampling.  Can you answer any of them?

  1. Who were the three Founders of PONCHO
  2. What does the PONCHO acronym stand for?
  3. Which two PONCHO Presidents in addition to chairing the PONCHO Gala also chaired the PONCHO Wine Auction?
  4. Which PONCHO President accidentally locked himself outside his Sheraton Hotel room in the nude the morning after PONCHO?
  5. Which two fathers and sons were both PONCHO presidents?

It was so much fun to see and catch up with all of these folks plus other active board members Annette Parks, Judith Kindler, Chloe Mueller, Duell Fisher, Patti Payne, Marc Sherman, Rose Dennis, Paul Birkeland, Scott Swerland, Carol Wright, Janet True and dozens of others.

Annette Parks, Cathi Hatch, Chloe Mueller, Judith Kindler
Annette Parks, Cathi Hatch, Chloe Mueller, Judith Kindler

PONCHO does live on through the PONCHO Legacy Fund at the Seattle Foundation.  This designated Fund serves to continue to help secure the future of six of our community’s greatest arts and cultural treasures including Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Opera, Seattle Repertory Theatre and Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

Mostly Women and a Few Good Men

Though ZINO Society has included many women entrepreneurs over the past almost 9 years that we have been featuring pitches by entrepreneurs seeking funding, I am excited about the brand-new  investment forum we are hosting on May 20th, ZINO Woman Intentional Investment Forum,  which is strictly devoted to featuring only women entrepreneurs pitching.  Though the audience will include men and women, this forum is our attempt to help level the playing field for women entrepreneurs seeking angel funding.

Just take a look at these statistics from the recent May 7, 2014 Newsweek article entitled “Women Entrepreneurs Fight for their Piece of the Pie”:

  • Startups with at least one woman on their founding team are roughly 18 percent less likely to attract equity investors than their all-male counterparts, according to 2013 data from an ongoing survey by Emory University. Yet they are almost 20 percent more likely to have generated revenue—and that’s no small distinction in a world where the vast majority of venture-backed startups fail.
  • Data collected by PitchBook found only 13 percent of all venture capital deals in the United States went to women in 2013, a significant increase from the firm’s 2004 data that put the figure at 4 percent. But that still means 87 percent of deals are being given to all-male teams.

The day will include a Women’s Business Showcase and Before-the-Pitches Networking Reception with exhibits, elevator pitches and featured libation professionals pouring their liquid assets where people can rub shoulders with business leaders, angel investors, entrepreneurs and expert panelists and judges, and hear business pitches from women entrepreneurs who are currently looking for resources.  Included on the expert panel are Fran Bigelow of Fran’s Chocolates, Renee Behnke of Sur La Table, Christina Lomasney of Modumental, Colette Courtion of JeNu, Caitlin Cameron of Otometrix and Bill McAleer of Voyager Capital.  To attend, please go to the ZINO Society website: .

I can’t wait!  I think it is going to be fascinating!

Gordon Kuenster, a Quiet Giant

Gordon Kuenster
Gordon Kuenster

Recently, a good friend of ours, Gordon Kuenster, passed away due to leukemia.  Over the past 30 years or more, along with his wife, Diane, we have been good family friends spending time boating together, playing tennis, skiing, attending each other’s birthday parties, celebrating holidays and family milestones.

Watching a friend die has been hard for many of us who have known and loved Gordon Kuenster.  Though Gordon had a brilliant career and was a pioneer in technology business, he was modest and never talked about it, so we have primarily seen him as a quiet and loving husband of our vivacious and beautiful friend, Diane.  He was always there in the background supporting her and loving her.  He leaves a big hole in the fabric of our many interwoven friendships.

One funny story I want to share was a time probably over 25 years ago now when Diane, Susan Neumann and I wanted to plan a surprise housewarming for our friends Susan & John Von Hagen.  It was late November and they had just moved into their new home atop Clyde Hill.  Somehow, one of us had gotten a key to the Von Hagen’s new home and shortly after they moved in, Diane, Susan and I were able to sneak into their house and ‘borrow” all their Christmas decorations.

Our plan was to show up at the surprise housewarming, scheduled to occur in just a few days, with a Christmas tree and have all their friends help decorate the tree.  We took all the decorations to the Kuenster’s big yellow house in Medina and put them in the greenhouse next to the clock tower.  Gordon’s job was to put the lights on the tree in advance so we could begin hanging ornaments once everyone arrived at the party.  Gordon enlisted friend, John Fluke, to help him and because most of the lights appeared not to be working, they spent countless hours freezing in the greenhouse fixing all the light strings, replacing bulbs and getting them all working.  If they had charged an hourly rate, that tree would have been the most expensive tree in the city!

The Von Hagen’s were suitably surprised when we all showed up at their door with a Christmas tree in tow, but the best part of the story was that we had “borrowed” the wrong lights.  We had left behind the new lights and only taken the box of old Christmas lights that were not working anymore, which caused Gordon and John to invest so much time.  Oh, well!  The tree did look spectacular and the party was a success!

Within the last week or so, along with other good friends, I had the opportunity to help Diane write Gordon’s obituary for the newspaper and we were all so impressed as we read old articles and reports about all of his experience and background, much of which we had never known.  Tom Alberg also wrote a beautiful article about Gordon in Geekwire which I want to share HERE.

Rest in peace, dear Gordon.  We love and miss you!